Budget breakdown: Slow travel stop in Pondicherry, India

Greetings again from the southeast coast of India — where the Earth Vagabonds are spending the winter.

Currently, we are in Chennai, Tamil Nadu. But this post is about our recent six-week stay in Pondicherry/Puducherry (about 100 miles south of here).

Usually, our budget reports are for a month. But since the Pondicherry stay was six weeks, I’ve put it all here.

Below are our exact spending totals for January 5 to February 15, 2024 — 42 nights.

Budget breakdown for Pondicherry

$1459  —  Housing

$318   —   Restaurants

$311   —   Excursions

$279   —   Charity/Gifts

$260   —   Groceries

$205   —   Supplies

$126   —   Beer

$72     —   Travel

$26     —   Local transit


$3056 : 6 week total / 3 persons

Note: for most of the Pondicherry period, we were hosting my mother, Diane, who is escaping from the winter cold in Cleveland, Ohio, USA.

Thus the totals reflected here are the living expenses for three people. (And yes, mom has reimbursed us for her share – so OUR real costs are even less.)

We continue to post cost breakdowns so folks back in the west can see how affordable retired life can be overseas. I shudder to think what a family of three would spend over six weeks in America.

Of course, as always, we know precisely what we spend because we record every expenditure in our handy ‘Spending Tracker’ cell phone app.

Related: Video tour of our awesome Pondy Airbnb rental

A couple other explainers

The ‘Excursions’ category includes a 10-day meditation retreat for wife Ellen (technically, the event is free – but we donated a couple hundred $).

‘Supplies’ includes a new $145 mountain bike for me. The only ‘new’ bike I’ve ever bought during our travels. (I can think of eight used bikes I’ve purchased – then gave away – in various places.)

‘Travel’ includes $45 in train tickets for myself and Ellen from Goa, India to Bangalore, then on to Pondicherry.

As always, we lived our ‘average style’ lives throughout the reporting period. We ate at restaurants/take out about half the time. Our Airbnb rental was big, modern, 2br/2bth. And we fully realize $500 per week in living expenses is a staggeringly high sum for many Indians.

Pondicherry was an interesting seaside city with a dedicated “French Quarter” – a remnant of the colonial past. We found Pondy to be comfortable, livable, and somewhat more manageable than many Indian metropolises. But aside from the world-famous Auroville/Aurobindo spiritual attractions, there were not a lot of ‘tourist activities’. It was easy to just ‘hang out’ in the heat and keep costs low.

We’re kinda doing the same thing right now in Chennai — another six-week stay, with mom. And at the end, we’ll post another expense breakdown just like this one.

As always, be thankful and generous, happy trails & more beer.

Life IS NOW!

Thanks for reading, “Budget breakdown: Slow travel stop in Pondicherry, India.”

ellen and theo earth vagabonds say hello

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